AWS Elemental MediaConnect Gateway is a new cloud-connected software application to transmit compressed live video between on-premises multicast networks and AWS. Part of AWS Media Services, MediaConnect Gateway supports operations in hybrid environments by allowing monitoring, security and management of video feeds from the AWS Management Console. With MediaConnect Gateway, users can build end-to-end live video contribution and distribution workflows in AWS at scale, directly integrated into their on-premises infrastructure.
Typically, delivering live-video multicast streams between data centres and the cloud requires customising a system from specialised third-party hardware and software or resources. Such bespoke systems can be costly, complex and difficult to support, and monitoring may need expertise and investment in vendor-specific tools. Now, with MediaConnect Gateway, an organisation can view, monitor and control compressed live video stream transport in on-premises data centres directly from the AWS Management Console or by using the MediaConnect API.
“Hybrid use-cases are prominent in live video applications among our customers,” said Brian Stein, GM of AWS Elemental. “MediaConnect Gateway gives full control over deploying and monitoring hybrid live video workflows, saving the organisation valuable time and resources so they can instead focus on their core business.”
Contribution and Distribution
AWS expects MediaConnect Gateway will be used primarily for contribution and distribution of live video. A video contribution workflow, for instance, might involve a content provider that originates live linear channels on premises. The provider could send these feeds to partners around the globe, using MediaConnect Gateway as a bridge between their multicast, on-premises network infrastructure and the cloud.
Each MediaConnect Gateway instance can subscribe to one or more multicast groups, where a group represents either a single channel or multiple channels multiplexed together in a multi-program transport stream (MPTS). Once subscribed, MediaConnect Gateway converts the network traffic to unicast, adds encryption and sends the video to a MediaConnect flow in the cloud.
Then a live streaming application is created using the feed, processing and delivering the video to end viewers using AWS Elemental MediaLive, AWS Elemental MediaPackage and Amazon CloudFront, for example, or another software application.
For video distribution, MediaConnect Gateway can be used to build networks that span hundreds or even thousands of end points on premises. For example, a broadcaster that sends 24/7 live linear content to hundreds of affiliates might use MediaConnect Gateway to bridge their on-premises multicast network at both the source and destination locations. The result is a cloud-managed set-up that is more agile and less costly compared to a satellite-based workflow.
Software Container Transport
MediaConnect Gateway runs inside the Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) Anywhere service that allows the user to manage ECS containers on their servers. After users install the open-source ECS Agent on their VM (virtual machine), or on a separate, bare metal server rented exclusively to them, MediaConnect Gateway is downloaded as a software container.
From that point, all management of video feeds is handled in the AWS Management Console or using the MediaConnect API. When an on-premises multicast video feed is selected, the video signal is transported as unicast to the cloud using AWS Elemental MediaConnect for live video transport.
Once in MediaConnect, the video can be sent to other AWS Regions, processed using AWS Media Services or other applications, shared with partners and affiliates, and delivered to other on-premises MediaConnect Gateway locations. Because MediaConnect Gateway has also been integrated into Amazon CloudWatch, distributors can monitor the health of feeds without purchasing separate tools.
Bridging the Gap – M2A
“So much of what broadcasters do starts and ends on premises,” said Dave Evans, Product VP, M2A CONNECT at M2A Media. M2A CONNECT manages the acquisition, aggregation and distribution of large numbers of video feeds. It can be used to control AWS Media Services, to automatically start, amend and stop them according to exact requirements, and to automate the AWS Cloud. As part of its routing capabilities, it can also be used to distribute live content to global clients in the AWS Cloud, source by source.
Dave said, “We’ve been using MediaConnect since launch, and now MediaConnect Gateway bridges the gap and makes the cloud even more broadcast-compatible. Our customers can contribute live video to the cloud and distribute their premium live content to thousands of endpoints globally, managing everything including receivers, all within M2A CONNECT.” aws.amazon.com